Experts laud Brunei for introducing Syariah Law
Azlan Othman

HER Royal Highness Princess Hajah Muta-Wakkilah Hayatul Bolkiah attended a talk presented by a prominent religious expert, Dato Seri Laila Jasa Professor Dr Anwarullah Shaifullah, Islamic Legal Specialist from the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

The talk, ‘Islamic Criminal Law and Modern Criminal Law’, was held at the International Convention Centre yesterday.

On Islamic Criminal Law, he emphasised the perfectness of this divine code that is stated in the Al-Quran and the Hadith, and said this law is “applicable at all times and places”.

Islamic Criminal Law also provides five fundamental protections, including the protection of religion, life, property, the sanctity of family and the intellect. Hence, the Islamic Criminal Law maintains an integral relationship among law, religion and morality, he explained.

Dato Prof Dr Anwarullah further indicated the differences between modern Criminal Law and Islamic Criminal Law.

The modern Criminal Law, he said, is a man-made law based on human deliberation which can sometimes be “erroneous and prejudicious”.

It is not perfect and changes to the desires of the people, he said of the modern Criminal Law. Though it is formulated to protect the public interests and maintain law and order in society, it is not as effective as the Islamic Criminal Law that is based on divine revelation and prescribes punishments for various religious offences to protect Islam, he explained.

He then elaborated on the fixed punishments for the offences of homicide and hurting. These punishments are called ‘Qisas’, ‘Diyat’ and ‘Arsh’. ‘Qisas’ means the same punishment to the offender he has caused to the victim whilst Diyat and Arsh means specified compensation paid to the victims or heirs.

‘Hudud’ punishments are categorised into areas according to the offences committed, such as sariqah (theft), hirabah (robbery), zina (adultery), qazaf (false accusation of unlawful sexual intercourse), consumption of intoxicating drinks such as alcohol, rebellion and irtidad (apostasy).

Another punishment mentioned by Dato Prof Dr Anwarullah is hadd, which is fixed for an offence stated in the Al-Quran or the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as the right of Allah the Almighty, which means it cannot be pardoned, compounded or altered by any one. Another punishment is ‘takzir’ prescribed by the legislature of the government for offences other than ‘Qisas’, ‘Diyat’ and ‘Hudud’.

‘Takzir’ differs from ‘hadd’ in that it can be pardoned, compounded or altered.

In comparison, according to the Islamic Criminal Law, the heirs of the victim are authorised to pardon the ‘qisas’ of the offender with or without compensation if they so desire. And if there are no heirs, the head of state has the power to pardon the offender. This is not so in modern criminal law where the head of state has the power to pardon the offender. Dato Prof Dr Anwarullah stated it is preferable to give the power of pardon to the heirs of the victim rather than to the head of state.

In conclusion, the differences between these two sets of laws are significant, according to Prof Dr Anwarullah. His elaboration on Islamic Criminal Law is that it is perfect without any human interference, and this law is applicable for all time. - Borneo Bulletin (24 October 2013)